LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND, SEPT. 16 -- South Korea's top Olympic official rejected North Korea's demand for a greater share of the 1988 Games today, saying that adding any sports to the five already offered was out of the question.
Both Kim Chong-ha, president of the South Korean Olympic Committee, and Park Seh-jik, president of the Seoul Olympic Organizing Committee, also said that they preferred to stick with International Olympic Committee-mediated talks with North Korea, rather than direct negotiations as Pyongyang has proposed.
They said they would make a decision on North Korea's request after meeting with IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch, probably on Thursday when invitations to the Summer Games are issued by the international panel.
The Olympics are scheduled to open in Seoul one year from Thursday.
Kim stopped short of setting a deadline for the two-year-old negotiations with the North, which is threatening to boycott the Games if its demands are ignored.
But he added that Jan. 17, 1988, the date by which the world's 167 national Olympic committees must announce their intentions, would be a good time to judge North Korea's sincerity.
"This is taking too much time," Kim said. "Time is running out. If we don't hear from them by Jan. 17, they are not interested in reaching an agreement."
Both he and Park, in a separate interview, said the three-party talks initiated by the IOC two years ago have produced a "generous offer" of five sports for North Korea to host, and that they were unwilling to add sports to that plan.
"Five is our final proposal," Kim said.